After more than two weeks of negotiations, a universal agreement has been produced from the Paris Climate Conference 2015. Nations have agreed to keep the warming effect of net emissions below 1.5 degrees Celsius. The negotiations are a stark contrast to Copenhagen Accord 2009 which failed to produce a legally binding agreement or establish enforceable targets for nations to meet. The Paris Agreement reflects scientific understanding, and low-lying island nations’ plea, that any rise in temperature above this threshold would have significant and irreversible impacts on the globe’s climate, oceans and species. The agreement requires developed nations to raise USD$ 100 billion per annum to facilitate the clean energy transition of developing nations to ensure the reduction of fossil fuels is a truly universal movement.
Australia’s current Emissions Reduction Fund will fall short of meeting intentional emission reductive commitments. A policy revolution will need to take place domestically meet Australia’s new international obligations. Market based initiatives, such as a carbon tax, are promoted by the text of the Paris Agreement and are again a serious option to restructure the economy towards an energy industry based on renewable sources.
While Paris is only an illusion of progress if no domestic momentum follows, the agreement is indicative to industry that a shift toward renewable energy is inevitable as the agreement seeks a world where net emissions of greenhouse gases are zero by the second half of the century. It can only be hoped that governments back investment in energy alternatives.
The text of the final agreement can be read here.
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